I’ve been working on video game stories since 2010, and I’ve been pretty fortunate to have worked on stories about games that I enjoy. I got the opportunity to work with Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends, on a feature about their newest game, Apex Legends. I enjoyed the game a lot, and thought it was fun, but then I wrote a story about the developer of the game, and after it was published, they announced that one of the lead designers had a history of sexist and racist remarks. It was brought to my attention, and I decided to let the story that I wrote stand, and to not cover what happened. I decided that the story was no longer accurate, but I felt that I needed to maintain the
It’s been over a year since EA announced it was working on a battle royale mode for its popular Apex Legends franchise, and today it has fired the lead designer of the mode.
Apex Legends is kicking off the Battle Royale craze and it has been doing well so far. However, the game’s lead designer has had his share of bad publicity, including charges of sexism and racism. His words and interactions with players have been criticized as sexist and racist, but his actions appear to have been more about community management than personal prejudice.
Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment have dismissed Daniel Klein, a key game designer on the battle royale shooter Apex Legends, as a consequence of sexist and racist comments he made in numerous blog postings across various websites as far back as 2007.
The posts in question were discovered on DeviantArt and Blogspot and shared in a series of screenshots, in which Klein went on a rant about women and African Americans, calling women irrational and equating the XX chromosome to “moron chromosomes,” and saying he wouldn’t feed breadcrumbs to some African neighbors because “if you feed them, they’ll come back and spit all over the place.”
“I accept full responsibility for the things I said, and I’m ashamed, upset, and furious at my younger self for uttering these stuff,” Klein said on Twitter. I think it is clear that I no longer believe these things.” However, it seems that his apologies were insufficient, as Klein stated on Tuesday that he would no longer be working on Apex.
“You may or may not recall the heinous, racist remarks I made in 2007.” That person should have been dismissed, without a doubt. Since then, I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into being a better person, and I’m now sad because I feel like I’ll never be able to make up for who I was. I uttered racist and sexist things not because I really believed them, but because I knew they would elicit a response. That doesn’t justify anything I said; the effect of my remarks was the same whether I believed it or not. I bring this up because, with the assistance of many people who loved me despite the jerk I could be at times, I was able to make headway on my path to being a better person.
“To be clear, I’m not accusing EA or Respawn of any wrongdoing. They had every right to fire me, regardless of how much I disagreed with the decision.”
According to emailed statements from Klein, the old posts first surfaced in response to his support of the ActiBlizz workers’ walkout over the company’s harassment scandal back in July, and there’s also a theory that Klein’s tumultuous relationship with some of the Apex playerbase was a motivator for discovering his past posts.
“I completely own the heinous, racist comments I uttered in 2007, and I despise myself for saying them. But there’s no question in my mind that they surfaced because someone was searching for ways to harm me,” he adds. “I was aware of the accusation, and I explicitly requested that they keep an eye out for similar tactics being used against other workers in the future.”
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